Fuel Poverty and Extreme Fuel Poverty in Glasgow and ScotlandFuel poverty trends to 2018

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Households are in fuel poverty when they need to spend at least 10% of their income on fuel. Fuel poverty has improved both in Scotland and in Glasgow since 2010, despite rises between 2012 and 2014. Fuel poverty in Glasgow remained lower than the Scottish average until 2016-2018, when it rose to similar levels.

Households that need to spend over 20% of their income on fuel are in extreme poverty. Extreme fuel poverty in Scotland was 3% higher between 2016 and 2018 than it was between 2010 and 2012. Extreme fuel poverty in Glasgow rose slightly overall in the period 2010-2018, largely in line with changes in the Scottish average.

These figures are from 2016-2018, and there are not yet figures which take into account the impacts of Covid-19 and the associated restrictions. The Scottish Government note that energy usage is likely to have increased during this period, particularly for those who have been shielding and so have had to stay at home. Alongside the likely economic impact of Covid-19 restrictions, this could mean a rise in fuel poverty.


A household in fuel poverty is defined by the Scottish Government’s 2002 Scottish Fuel Poverty Statement as ‘one that needs to spend more than 10% of its income (including Housing Benefit or Income Support for Mortgage Interest) on all household fuel use in order to maintain a satisfactory heating regime.’ Extreme fuel poverty is defined in the 2012 Fuel Poverty Evidence Review as ‘a household having to spend more than 20% of its income on fuel’. The likelihood of a household experiencing fuel poverty is influenced by income, fuel costs and energy efficiency of the dwelling.

These figures were sourced from the Scottish Households Condition Survey, and do not take into account bill rebates received under the warm homes discount scheme, or income received by additional adults other than the highest income householder and their partner.  Therefore, these figures are likely to overstate the number of fuel poor households to an extent. 

The Scottish Government has published local indicators of fuel poverty down to an intermediate zone level.  It is advised that these estimates should be considered as a broad guide and used alongside other local knowledge. Accompanying maps provide an indication of the relative distribution of fuel poverty in Scotland, identifying areas with very high and very low levels of fuel poverty.

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